Corcovado national Park of the best places in Costa Rica to watch wildlife. You can find 2,5% of the world’s biodiversity here. For anyone who loves nature and adventure, a visit to Corcovado is an absolute must-do on your travels to Costa Rica.
Blog & Photos: Lisa and Marlou
The national Park is in the most southern tip of Costa Rica and due to location, it is not easy to reach. To enjoy your stay in the park, you should prepare well. However, do not let this intimidate you because this region is well worth a visit. In case you could use some help with organizing your visit to Corcovado, the adventure travel team in Costa Rica of course love to help you. But first read this blog for some essential information.
You can visit the park from different places. Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez are the most common starting points for a visit Corcovado national Park. The easiest way to get Drake Bay, is by boat from Sierpe. It is a one and ½ hour boat ride through the mangroves and on open sea.
In the dry season, you can also drive to Drake Bay over on adventurous road through nature. Puerto Jimenez is on the other side of the peninsula and can easily be reached by car.
Another way to visits Park, is from you Uvita or Ojochal. From here, it takes about 1 ½ hours by boat.
You can stay in Drake Bay. Even though this is the most popular destination in the region, mass tourism does not exist here. At Edventure Travel we offer small-scale lodging in the middle of nature.
Puerto Jimenez is definitely still an off the beaten track destination. Ask for more information about a stay on this side of the park.
For those who want to completely immerse themselves in nature, a stay in La Leona lodge is a great option. This glamping lodge is right at the beach and next to the park. It does however, take some effort to get there. Part of the journey is a hike from a few kilometers on the beach.
Costa Rica’s most beautiful park can be visited on a guided day tour. This should be booked beforehand. Only a limited number of tourists are allowed to enter park. It is therefore highly recommended to make arrangements time.
Five ranger stations
Spread over the park, there are five ranger stations: La Sirena, La Leona, San Pedrillo, Los Patos and El Tigre. These ranger stations are the only official entrances to visit the national Park of Corcovado. Depending on where you enter the park, you will visit one of these ranger stations on your visit.
If you stay in Drake Bay, you can book a day tour to ranger station La Sirena or San Pedrillo. The most visited ranger station is La Sirena, due to the large quantity of mammals you can see here. But also because this is the only ranger station where you can spend the night and that can be visited from two other ranger stations. I will tell you more about that in the section about multiple day tours.
La Sirena can easily be visited by boat from Drake Bay. It is boat drive from about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The closest ranger station to Drake Bay is San Pedrillo (45 min). Apart from the wildlife, you also visit waterfalls here. Both ranger stations and only by boat.
Ranger stations near Puerto Jimenez
When you stay in the area around Puerto Jimenez, you can book a day tour to La Leona or El Tigre. The La Leona ranger station is 3.5 km from Carate, the starting point for this day tour. From El Tigre you can only go on limited hikes in the national Park. Luckily, nature does not recognize the exact borders of the park. Nature just outside of the park is evenly beautiful.
Regardless of which ranger station you choose to visit, on a day tour to the park you have the opportunity to see the four species of monkeys, tapirs, ant eaters, parrots, snakes and many other animals. With some luck you could even see a jaguar.
The Ranger Station La Sirena in Corcovado National Park. The large grassy area is a runway for small aircrafts.
Arrival at the beach at La Sirena Ranger Station. From the beach you walk into the rainforest.
This is the beautiful beach of La Sirena Ranger Station where coatis, tapirs and cougars are regularly seen.
If you would you like to go on an adventure and discover even more of the park and the peninsula, then we can strongly recommend a multi-day tour to Corcovado! There are several options, but a beautiful route is the one from La Sirena to La Leona (or vice versa). This tour starts in Drake Bay, where you will be transferred by boat to La Sirena. You will stay 1 night in the ranger station, where you can explore nature with a guide along the various trails. The next morning you will leave early for a 20km walk along the beach, rivers and through the jungle to Carate, past the ranger station La Leona. This is a brisk but beautiful hike where you also have the chance to spot a lot of wildlife! We saw anteaters, tapirs and monkeys when we were there.
Another option for advanced hikers looking for more adventure is a 3-day hike from Los Patos to La Sirena. This hike starts and ends in Los Patos and is only accessible via La Palma. During this 3-day hike you will reach La Sirena after hiking about 24 km (only possible in the dry season).
There is also the option to walk of the park via La Leona, so you can explore even more of the park!
Is intensive trekking not your thing, but you do want to visit the park? Then you can also opt for an overnight stay in the ranger station La Sirena, where you can explore the trails around the ranger station with a guide. The next morning you are simply taken back by boat to Drake Bay.Request for a complete Costa Rica tour or a multi-day trip to Corcovado
An introduction to our guide and group members. We receive a clear briefing before we leave. The multi-day treks through Corcovado take place in small groups of max. 8 people.
We hike through dense jungle and on the most beautiful beaches. On the way we do not meet other people, but we did run into many animals. We saw anteaters, tapirs, monkeys and macaws! So cool!
You can only visit Corcovado with a guide. That’s a good thing, because without our guide we wouldn’t have spotted half of all the animals we saw. And we would definitely easily get lost!
From Drake Bay you can book all kinds of other day tours. The area is also known for the whales and dolphins that you can see on a boat tour.
There are two whale seasons: between December and March and between July and November. Dolphins can be seen all year round.
On a snorkeling or diving tour you get to discover the beautiful underwater world around Cano island. Discover the beautiful underwater world near the protected Caño Island on a snorkeling or diving tour.
You can snorkel or dive among turtles, sharks, rays, moray eels, barracudas and schools of fish. Also for this tour, you must book in advance because of the limited number of tourists that are allowed per day.
In addition to these popular tours, several other tours can be booked from the hotel, such as: The Danta Hike Trail, mangrove tour, evening tour or horseback ride. You can also walk on your own along the beach and the jungle via the Drake Bay Hiking Trail to the beautiful beach of San Josecito.
In Puerto Jimenez you can also undertake many activities on the water. Due to its unique location on the Golfo Dulce, the waters around Puerto Jimenez have one of Costa Rica’s most important and vibrant marine habitats.
Consider kayaking through the mangroves, going snorkeling or a heading off for a dolphin tour. Or discover the impressive phenomenon of bioluminescence on a guided tour in the evening! A chocolate tour, horseback riding or a bird tour are also possible. Just like enjoying the various beautiful and often deserted beaches.
Have a look at our destinations and sample itineraries in Costa Rica to get inspired and possibly put together your own trip.
Be sure to check out these two trips, because part of these itineraries is a visit to the Corcovado National Park:
3 Weeks off the Beaten Track
3 weeks traveling with Kids
Do these trips not quite fit your wishes? No problem.
We are happy to help you prepare your dream trip.
Tell us about your wishes and we will get started with a tailor-made trip for you.
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